Sunday, February 23, 2014

Make Your Own Constellation Notecards: 3 Ways

I love fancy notecards. I'm always drawn to fancy card and paper stores, but the costs can really add up on fancy cards with all the glitz and glamour. These constellation notecards are super easy to whip up, and don't take tons of materials (I even got some of my items on sale!).

To make your own constellation notecards you will need:

Black or midnight blue cardstock (I used 8.5"x11" sheets)
scissors or small paper cutter
ruler (unless you have a paper cutter with built in ruler)
small self adhesive gemstones
silver metallic pen or marker (I used a Sharpie silver metallic permanent marker)
print outs of your favorite constellations (I did am image search on Google to find mine)

I started out by cutting my black cardstock sheets into cards. You can easily make 2 cards out of each sheet, and cut individual cards to different shapes if you like. A good standard size is 4 1/4" x5 1/2 inches for the final card (which can be done by cutting your original sheet of paper in half and then folding to make your card).

Next, use a needle to poke small holes in your constellation design where the stars are located, as show above. I then positioned my deisgn on my card and used a very sharp pencil to lightly mark out where my stars are. :)

For my first card, I stuck small self adhesive gems where all of the stars are located. I like the look of this one a lot, but if you are giving these away to someone that isn't very familiar with constellations, you might want to try the outline method.

For this card, I still made the pencil dots to mark where my stars go. Instead of placing my sticker gems, I connected the dots with a metallic silver marker. I let each segment sit a minute or two to make sure I didn't smear my marker lines. This shows the outline of the entire constellation and makes it more recognizable.

My favorite option is the third card, which combines the outline with the gemstones. I did my outlining first, then stuck a gemstone where each star is located. Quick and easy and something I am sure would brighten someone's day.

Have you sent anyone something special yet during National Letter Writing Month?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fudge Striped Shortbread Cookies

One of my husband's favorite cookies are Keebler Fudge Stripes. I decided that I'd make him some super special Fudge Striped cookies for Valentine's Day. You start with a simple shortbread cookie recipe and then add some melted chocolate, not nearly as daunting as I thought they might be.

To make your own Fudge Striped Shortbread at home you will need:

For the Cookies:

2 sticks of softened butter
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (you could also use 1/2 cup regular sugar and add in 1 tsp vanilla flavor instead)
2 cups flour (plus extra for rolling out your cookies/dusting your cookie cutters)

For the Fudge Stripes:

1 cup chopped dark chocolate
2 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil

Start by creaming your butter and sugar together in a bowl. Once the butter is light and fluffy and all the sugar us mixed in, add your flour and mix until incorporated. Pour your dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Make your dough into a disk shape, cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for about 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees (F). Take your dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/4" thick on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin.

Select your cookie cutters (I chose the heart shapes above) and cut out your cookie shapes. Some of my heart shaped cutters are quite large, so I used a smaller cookie cutter to cut out another heart in the center. I will admit, one thing I never liked about fudge stripe cookies is that they have a hole in the middle, I want MORE cookie, not less. If you agree with me, then you can leave all of your cookies without the center cutout.

Place your cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they just start to brown a little around the edges. Once done, take out and place on a cooling rack until completely cool, mix up your chocolate for dipping while you wait.

I melt my chocolate in the microwave, but you can use a double boiler if you like. Just put your chopped up chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and add your butter or coconut oil. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring between each. It takes about 1 minute 30 seconds for all of my chocolate to melt (I stir as much as possible each time, if you need another 30 seconds don't feel bad-it happens).

Once you have your cooled cookies, dip the bottoms of each cookie into the chocolate and place them back onto some parchment (I even put mine on a cool baking sheet and then stick them in the refrigerator to help them set up faster). To make the stripes, I put the remaining chocolate into a sandwich bag, snip off a teeny tiny corner of the bag and use it to pipe on the stripes. These don't have to be prefect, because they are delicious either way. If you don';t want to mess with stripes, you can also just dunk the entire cookie in chocolate!

If you want to see some more "in progress" shots of these guys you can check them out on my Instagram. Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

National Letter Writing Month: Supplies

It's National Letter Writing Month! Writing letters is something very few of us do any more--email, facebook and text messages have made it pretty obsolete. It's super fun to get mail other than bills, at least I think so, and with Valentine's day quickly approaching, what better time to make a special letter for the people in your life?

Above I have a picture of some super cute supplies that anyone can use to whip up a batch of fancy cards: washi tape, ribbon, cardstock, stamps, stickers, paints, zig-zag scissors, baker's twine and more! You can also make some super cool custom envelopes for your cards with this tutorial.

I made this cute little card in just a few minutes, and it would surely brighten anyone's day. Maybe you can take this opportunity to make a batch of cards to send out to people you haven't talked to in awhile to brighten their day. :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day Sampler on Tuts+

I'm working on a bunch of projects for National Letter Writing month, but in the meantime you may want to check out the Valentine's Day Sampler I created for Tuts+. It is super easy, so even a beginner can whip it up in no time. The pattern and some helpful tips are all included in the tutorial.

Look for some more tutorials from me up on their site in the coming months, as well as new additions to the stitch library here on The Craftinomicon.